Indian shares rose to their highest close in six weeks on rising foreign portfolio inflows as global risk-taking improves on moves by the International Monetary Fund to help countries deal with the Eurozone debt crisis.
HDFC Bank climbed 1 per cent after the country's No. 3 lender reported a higher-than-expected 31.2 per cent rise in quarterly profit as a drop in loan-loss provisions and higher fee income made up for weak loan demand.
Bigger rival ICICI Bank, which releases its financial result on January 31, rose 3.6 per cent, leading the gains in the main index. The 30-share BSE index closed up 1.17 per cent at 16,643.74, its highest close since December 7. Twenty-three of its components gained.
"The confidence is back," said K.K. Mital, head of portfolio management services at Globe Capital, with foreign funds returning to the market.
Foreign institutional investors moved more than $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) into Indian shares since the new year began, helping the benchmark index gain 7.7 per cent since the end of December.
In 2011, the index fell nearly a quarter as foreign funds pulled out more than $500 million after a series of rate increases by the central bank to fight inflation hurt growth. Headline inflation slowed in December to a two-year low as food price pressure fell sharply. The food price index in the year to January 7 fell 0.42 per cent, data on Thursday showed.
Foreign funds also bought about $3 billion of local debt this month, data from the market regulator showed. Investors turned sharply bullish on most emerging Asian currencies in the last two weeks, especially the Indian rupee and the Indonesian rupiah, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday.
Engineering conglomerate Larsen & Toubro firmed up 2.95 per cent, while energy major Reliance Industries ended up 0.8 per cent. Bharti Airtel, the country's top mobile phone carrier, bucked the trend and fell 1.4 per cent.
India's rupee climbed to a two-month high after data showed signs of a recovery in the world's largest economy. The rupee advanced 0.4 per cent to 50.2375 per dollar in Mumbai.